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Talking Points for SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning City Council Public Hearing

With the City Council’s one and only public hearing for the city’s proposed SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown upzoning on Tuesday Nov. 9, here are talking points we strongly suggest you use for your testimony and comments you submit to the City Council (see link above to register to speak or submit testimony):

  • It’s a giant giveaway to developers, many of whom are De Blasio donors who lobbied relentlessly for this. 
  • It would allow development up to 2 1/2 times the size current rules allow.
  • The City says it will result in 3.8 mil sq ft of new development, but would actually allow well over 10 mil sq ft of new development in rezoning area, or nearly four Empire State Buildings, most of which is unaccounted for in their environmental analysis. 
  • It will incentivize the demolition of many of the well over 600 units of rent regulated and loft law affordable housing, which are disproportionately occupied by lower income, artist, and Asian American residents, and disproportionately located in the areas with the greatest proposed upzonings which create the greatest incentives for demolition.  
  • It will likely add pressure for “secondary displacement” of thousands more residents of rent regulated affordable units in the immediately surrounding area, which are even more disproportionately Asian American and lower income  
  • The plan is likely to result in little or no new affordable housing due to multiple loopholes which have no affordable housing requirements — office, hotel, or other commercial space, retail space, and any community facility space for institutions like NYU, as well as luxury condo space of 25K sq ft or less per zoning lot are all EXEMPTED
  • The plan allows developers to build as much or more market-rate space WITHOUT affordable housing as they can if they do include affordable housing, on EVERY site where the City says affordable housing will be built, thus making affordable housing construction highly unlikely and INCENTIVIZING building without it. 
  • Even if new developments are built as the City predicts with 70-75% luxury condos and 25-30% “affordable housing,” these developments will overall actually be more expensive, and house wealthier and less diverse residents, than the current neighborhood overall, making for a less equitable, less affordable neighborhood. 
  • The plan would allow unlimited NYU expansion into area, violating NYU 2031 expansion plan agreements which were supposed to limit the university’s expansion. 
  • The plan would allow new construction which is more than two and a half times the size of the average existing building in the neighborhood. 
  • The plan would encourage the demolition of historic buildings recognized as city, state, and national landmarks. 
  • The plan is opposed by leading citywide and statewide housing and tenant groups, city, state, and national preservation organizations, environmental groups, and Chinatown groups. 
  • It would help push out longtime artist residents of neighborhood as well as arts groups and businesses 
  • It would allow the proliferation of huge big box chain stores as well as bars, pushing out longtime smaller independent businesses and destroying quality of life. 
  • Three things which residents and community groups consistently said during the “public engagement” process they did not want in any plan for the neighborhood — Upzoning, Big Box Chain Stores, and allowance for NYU Expansion — are the cornerstones of this plan 
  • Over a dozen community and tenant groups have offered a community alternative rezoning plan which would allow construction of true, more deeply and broadly affordable housing, without tenant displacement, out-of-scale development, and without big box chain stores forcing out local businesses. 

Urge City Councilmembers to vote NO on the plan.

More information can be found at:

www.villagepreservation.org/soho-noho-facts and https://www.villagepreservation.org/campaign/upzoning-soho-and-noho

5 responses to “Talking Points for SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning City Council Public Hearing

  1. I support everything the GVSHP as well as many other organizations have cited in their objections to this plan by big
    business and by people who have no interest in the character or livability of the city. It is a destructive plan aiding no one.

  2. Stop erasing history. To deepen the character of future New Yorkers we must preserve our few remaining historic neighborhoods and buildings. NO chain block stores and luxury hi-rises in SOHO/NOHO/Chinatown!

  3. Real Estate developers are poised to “rape” the downtown neighborhoods of their character and historical charm. In doing so, with the cooperation of the outgoing and incoming mayor, the city council—the city government will deliver a decisive blow to the future of the diverse arts economy of this metropolis, which brings in more money than all professional sports organizations combined. If one wants to be responsible for a has been city known only for its former glory supporting this bill will forever cement politicians reputations as the “terrorists” who crippled America’s greatest metropolis, unmooring the main reasons young talented people have come here in the past. Like climate change, the difficulty of a young creative making their way here has been put into serious jeopardy by the diminishing of truly affordable housing. This rezoning will help to kill New York as a contemporary culture destination and may well be the end for America as a beacon of creative expression, as no other American city is able to shoulder the opportunity. No doubt you are reading this and dismissing it as more hyperbole but as an artist and college professor for many decades I can attest to the brain drain of talent that is choosing to abandon this city that has abandoned the diverse dream that New York once was and are moving to other much more livable cities, many out of the country. The site of all the recent dehumanizing towers has become the symbol arrogant authoritarian power and class contempt for all of us who live in what are still neighborhoods. Is this the legacy you believe in? I hope not, I don’t believe you do! But if you insist on passing these re-zoning rules, which will only profit the Uber wealthy developers who have long corrupted this city’s government, you participate in the further depletion of the cities tax base as more and more owners will live in foreign countries and draw money out of the city. New York City should be owned by New Yorkers, not Saudi Princes!

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